Investigations

Exclusive: Afghan Invictus Games athletes remain in Australia to 'seek asylum'

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Six members of Afghanistan’s squad did not board their return flight home on Sunday, SBS can reveal.

More than half of the Afghan Invictus Games team has stayed behind in Sydney after their teammates returned to Afghanistan and are believed to be planning to seek asylum.

Mirwais Ramaki, who was an Invictus Games volunteer helping the Afghan team during their stay, said when the team was due to depart on Sunday, five athletes and one official didn’t go to the airport with the rest of the team.

“One of them actually said when he came and saw the people here - basically it was his first time coming out of the country, being in a safe and peaceful environment - that totally changed his perceptions,” Mr Ramaki said.

Asked about whether any asylum applications from Afghan Invictus Games team members had been lodged, a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs told SBS News: “The Invictus Games competitors and officials may remain lawfully in Australia until the expiry of their visas. Their visas have not yet expired.”

The Afghan Invictus Team members in Sydney.
The Afghan Invictus Team members in Sydney.
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